Imagine that you are struggling to finish a project, with the deadline fast approaching. Nearly done, you are about to print out what you have finished when a dialog box appears on your computer screen telling you that you must download and install an update for some piece of software. Frustrated, you try to make it go away, but it keeps reappearing. So you relent and click on ‘Install’, and your screen is filled with small print listing ‘Terms and Conditions’. You do not have time to scroll through the whole thing. So you click ‘Agree’. The installation begins, and you are relieved that it takes only a few minutes. Soon you are back at work and have finished your project.
Thomas Scanlon is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard University. [email protected]